This talk consists of two related but distinct parts, and should be accessible if you know some algebraic topology and/or differential geometry. The first part is about quantum invariants: I will sketch how to compute the colored Jones polynomials of a knot and discuss their origin in representation theory. The second part is about hyperbolic geometry: I will discuss the basics of hyperbolic knot theory and explain how to compute hyperbolic structures and their volumes using ideal triangulations. The goal is to motivate the volume conjecture discussed in my main talk, which relates the colored Jones polynomials to the hyperbolic volume.